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Five Common Questions About GPS Tracking

gps common questions

What is GPS?

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a group of 27 Earth-orbiting satellites (24 in operation and three extras in case one fails). When people talk about a “GPS,” they usually mean a GPS receiver. The U.S. military developed and implemented this satellite network as a military navigation system but now lets everyone use the signals.

How does GPS work?

A common misconception among most people is how GPS works. GPS (Global Positioning System) satellites should not be confused with communication satellites used for wireless communications. They are two completely separate satellite networks. All of our systems use GPS satellites for location purposes. Our real-time systems then use various wireless networks (including satellite wireless) to communicate the location data so our customers can use the vehicle tracking GPS to locate the vehicles/assets in real-time.

How does GPS tracking systems for vehicles work?

A GPS antenna is tethered to the unit with a lead wire (typically 10-15 feet). The GPS antenna collects the GPS data and feeds it to the unit. The unit does some processing of events and speeds. Additionally, the GPS vehicle tracking unit has a wireless modem inside, similar to ones found in cell phones. This modem is used to communicate with Global Tracking’s systems. The GPS data is sent directly from the vehicle’s unit to our servers, where we process the information for the user. All of this happens in real-time.

What about installation?

Our systems are typically very simple to install, like the Lojack, and in fact, 90% of our customers install the systems themselves. Simply hook up a ground and power wire, mount the GPS antenna, and the system is ready to go.

Of course we have a network of installation specialists in every part of the U.S. should you decide to use a professional.

What is the difference between GPS and satellite communications?

GPS (Global Positioning System) satellites should not be confused with communication satellites used for wireless communications (see wireless communications below). They are two completely separate satellite networks and applications. All of our systems use GPS satellites for location purposes, and then use various wireless networks (including satellite wireless) to communicate the location data in real-time.

Image Credit: Horia Varlan @ Flickr

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